. "Advantages of Online Professional Development." Enhancing Professional Development for Teachers: Potential Uses of Information Technology, Report of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.
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Enhancing Professional Development for Teachers Potential Uses of Information Technology: Report of a Workshop
to them,” said National Academies TAC member Robert Willis of Frank W. Ballou High School in Washington, DC. “The benefit of an online program would be that teachers can tailor a program of professional development according to where they are and what they need.”
Even teachers nearing the end of their careers can benefit greatly, said California TAC member Sandie Gilliam, who serves on the California Mathematics Council.1 More experienced teachers need help with new approaches to pedagogy and with content that is more suited to today’s students, and even experienced teachers can be novices in some areas. Keeping these teachers engaged and working makes it possible to take advantage of their years of experience. “I could retire if I wanted to now,” said Gilliam. “I don’t want to…. So even though you want to work with the younger teachers and the ones who are in the first five years to keep them teaching, think about us, too.”
Another group of teachers who can benefit are those who serve as mentors to less experienced teachers in online networks. Workshop participant Barbara Shannon of Westridge School in Pasadena, California, served as an online mentor through a program known as E-Mentoring for Student Success.2 “It gave me a group of young people, whom I didn’t even know, who looked up to me as a mentor and asked me for knowledge,” said Shannon. “I went back and told my colleagues about the program, and other people I met. I told my students about the program. They told their parents about the program, … and they went back and told the administrators about the program. So now we are looking into online professional development at our school because of what it has done for me.”